School board formalizes desires for Cubberley | March 1, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 1, 2019

School board formalizes desires for Cubberley

Staff recommendations include new school, teacher housing

by Elena Kadvany

The Palo Alto school board voted 5-0 on Tuesday to affirm the school district's desires for three key future uses of Cubberley Community Center: a new school, staff housing and a central district office.

This story contains 511 words.

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18 people like this
Posted by Dishonest
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Perhaps it's the district's (i.e.the teacher's union) double standard and dishonest campaign that has led to talks stalling.

It is officials elected with the support of the teacher's union, that is our city and county elected officials, who are pushing Stanford to build more housing units than Stanford proposed in its GUP.

Stanford proposed building 3510 housing units, to yield 275 potential students over 17 years. As PAUSD's enrollment declined by 292 students this past school year, that is not a big number. The County's final EIR supports Stanford's projections. But the City and other pro housing proponents, backed by the SEIU and the teacher's union, have pushed to have Stanford build many more housing units, to benefit themselves. Their proposals would yield up to 1445 potential PAUSD students. That would blow up the PAUSD budget, and dilute the pool of money available for teacher salaries, so the District (i.e. the teacher's union) is now concurrently running a deceptive campaign to try to force Stanford to pay for the students that would come from the housing that the teacher's union and the SEIU is pushing Stanford to build. It would also create a traffic nightmare for local residents, as outlined in the County's own study on the topic.

15 people like this
Posted by Dishonest campaign
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 25, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Palo Alto Council of PTAs and District are running a dishonest campaign. Their petition and flyers hide the fact that the Stanford proposal will only generate 275 potential students; they did not mention anything about how the county is forcing affordable housing on Stanford, which will result in 1445 students. There are already people who have learned about these facts after signing the dishonest petition and wanted to withdraw their signatures. The petition should be completely disregarded as it is dishonest and has misled people.

2 people like this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 26, 2019 at 10:53 am

Wasn't there _already_ a proposal to build a new middle and/or high school at Cubberley and presented to the School Board back in 2015, 3+ years ago?

It was voted down 3-2 by Ken Dauber, Terry Godfrey, and (one other board member). Todd Collins (not then on the board but now is) was a vocal dissenter.

Is there now a 3rd PAUSD Board vote that would cause the proposal to pass?

11 people like this
Posted by To "Dishonest"
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2019 at 11:06 am

I bet you are affiliated with Stanford's massive development team. They are working hard to position themselves as victims. Hilarious.

Stanford is spending billions to develop more than 2.3 million square feet. They have bit off more than they can chew. They claim they can't afford to mitigate housing or schools, or transportation impacts that they are creating. They want our community to do that for them.

If they truly cannot afford to mitigate, they have another option. They could downsize their project....which would reduce its impacts to manageable levels for them and for us.

The dragon jealously builds and guards its glittering endowment hoard--at the community's expense. It is disappointing that an elite "education" institution refuses to anything (to quote Jean McGowan, "not one red cent") to mitigate its impacts on local public schools.

This is short-sighted. A symbiotic relationship between local public schools benefits Stanford-affiliated students. Do we really want these two institutions battling? PAUSD will welcome Stanford students, as always. Stanford-affiliated parents want the district to maintain excellent programs.

As for the PTAs--they were, frankly, shocked by Stanford's response. Stanford compensated PAUSD for impacts of the last GUP (which was about the same size--without the additional housing), but they "won't pay one red cent:" this time? What has changed--besides Stanford's attitude?

2 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2019 at 3:49 pm

Slow down "To Dishonest."

How do you conclude that restricted funds given to Stanford's endowment can be spent in ways that the donors did NOT specify? They can't. Web Link

The tone in your post and that PAUSD, PTAC, and our unions adopted for this important negotiation is counter productive.

Best would have been to use facts instead of twisted facts like when PTAC and the unions published that Stanford's "adding hundreds of students, without adding revenues, means irreparable harm to PAUSD schools...forcing increased classroom sizes, program reductions and staff layoffs." Web Link

That list of horrors does not jive at all with PAUSD's projection that our enrollment is about to DECLINE by 1,000 students and we are about to have a whopping $10 million SURPLUS over annual expenditures soon. Web Link

That's before Stanford gives PAUSD "one red cent."

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 26, 2019 at 4:03 pm

The fact is that Stanford wants to continue its free ride and add more students without any funding. It might be hundreds it might be thousands, but it will be a lot. The district might shrink, though that's unlikely - the pressure to build new housing is the entire state's top priority. The district is asking them to just so their share and pay for the kids they actually send who live in Stanford housing. Why Stanford resists this so strongly is a mystery - otherwise the rest of us must pay for it.

4 people like this
Posted by some advice
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 26, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Our high home values, which bring lots of money to our schools, are due in large part to our proximity to Stanford and the thriving local businesses Stanford profs and grads start and frequent.

Acknowledge that and then maybe the negotiations will go somewhere.

The way to get concessions is pretty simple: be honest, act professionally, be appreciative, and do not complain. Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Good advice for both sides.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2019 at 7:04 pm

" honest, act professionally, be appreciative, and do not complain." Stanford would do well to do the same. Both sides can take responsibility for the breakdown of communication.

We, the community (which includes Stanford), cannot afford for this important relationship to fall apart. Yes. It is true that Stanford's presence benefits Palo Alto. It is also true that Palo Alto provides a lot of very expensive services to Stanford and absorbs a lot of impacts from their growth.

The former symbiotic relationship is breaking down because people on BOTH sides are behaving badly. Please make this work. I'm seeing careless communications on both sides.

2 people like this
Posted by a shame
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 27, 2019 at 6:07 am

Good advice,

What evidence do you have that Stanford has misbehaved other than not agreeing to PAUSD's demands, rumors, or innuendo?

Understand that this is not a two-way negotiation. It is PAUSD standing in a long line of entities, agencies, and individuals asking Stanford to do something that it is NOT required to do.

So it was on PAUSD's leadership to represent us in our best light so that Stanford would WANT to direct their generosity to our schools over the others.

Instead the Superintendent, the Board, the unions, and PTAC decided to "persuade" Stanford with hyperbole, requests framed as entitlements, and humiliation which show that none of them understood the landscape.

Let's hope that Stanford sees past our district leaders' childish behavior and offers some mitigations instead of none which is where PAUSD’s approach has gotten us so far.

2 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 27, 2019 at 7:41 am

Stanford either needs to fully pay for each kid living at Stanford that attends PAUSD or stop building. There's no room for negotiation on this point. If Stanford wants to argue about student count projections then that's fine. A good compromise is to bill Stanford for the number of students that actually attend PAUSD each year, so Stanford will pay the actual cost for educating their kids, no more and no less.

It's absolutely shameful that Stanford, with their $26 billion endowment, is trying to freeload their students into PAUSD, which will have a negative impact on all Palo Alto and Stanford kids. It's despicable behavior that reflects poorly on all people and organizations affiliated with Stanford. If Stanford continues this ridiculous quest of greed, they will only be damaging their own reputation.

3 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 27, 2019 at 11:09 am

@Resident: you said - The fact is that Stanford wants to continue its free ride....the district is asking them to just do their share and pay for the kids they actually send who live in Stanford housing..... otherwise the rest of us must pay for it."

Any students who live on Stanford land live in PAUSD's district and PAUSD is obligated to educate them. But the 251 out of district teacher's children currently attending PAUSD do not, and those students don't contribute "one red cent" to help pay for their PAUSD education, @$20k/student/year. That's $5 million/year. It's disingenuous for the teacher's union to be saying Stanford is asking for a "free ride" when the teacher's union is the one actually doing it.

The teacher's union and the SEIU are pushing all of the elected officials they elected to push Stanford to build more housing, because it benefits them. The City and County proposals to force Stanford to build more housing than it proposed would yield potentially way more students (1445 vs 275 for Stanford's proposal). That would blow up PAUSD's budget, and if no money is forthcoming, probably balloon class sizes at PAUSD to compensate. But if the teacher's union can mount a campaign to force Stanford to pay for the students from the housing that the teacher's union is trying to force Stanford to build, then they can retain their current salary levels. Win win!!

County Supervisors, City Council, School Board --- accept Stanford's proposal and move on.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2019 at 11:29 am

@Citizen - ah, the "let's change the subject" gambit - right out of the obfuscation playbook! How PAUSD decides to pay its teachers (in this case with a benefit that significantly helps teacher recruiting and retention) has nothing to do with whether Stanford needs to pay for what it uses.

If you are anti-housing, that's fine - go for it. But don't blame the schools for it - they are simply saying that WHATEVER kids Stanford sends, they need to come with funding, or otherwise all the kids pay the price. Stanford rental housing already sends some 400 kids a year with almost no funding (less than $500K) - they paid the District a one-time $10M in 2001, and the bill is due again.

Why does Stanford squirm and complain so much? I think the idea of a local "Peasants Revolt" is getting under their skin.

1 person likes this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2019 at 11:55 am

@Resident --- fyi --- Students who live on Stanford land live in the PAUSD district and PAUSD is obligated to educate them.

Out of district teacher's children come with no funding. VTP kids come with no funding. Why aren't you focused on them?

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2019 at 2:02 pm

1) wrong - VTP kids do come with state funding. In addition, this is part of a legal settlement designed to address racist housing laws and practices that excluded minorities from Palo Alto. And who exactly do you suggest should be paying more - the low-income VTP families?

2) again, the schools let teachers bring their kids because they view it as a valuable recruiting and retention tool. The schools apparently think it is a good investment, so making them stop would hurt, not help.

3) again you are just changing the subject. Yes PAUSD is obliged to teach students living at Stanford - that's exactly why Stanford should pay its fair share. They are the wealthiest, largest, and fastest growing landlord in PAUSD, with already over 400 students in PAUSD from their affiliate rental housing. If they don't pay their share, everyone pays the price.

5 people like this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2019 at 10:04 pm

@Resident: Great to know that the VTP kids come with funding! That leaves the teacher's children as the only group that contributes $0 toward their education. Students living on Stanford land represent 6% of PAUSD students, but Stanford lands generate 17% of PAUSD property tax revenue, according to the handout I received. So it seems that Stanford is not only paying its fair share, but actually paying the freight, while someone else is getting the free ride.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 27, 2019 at 11:15 pm

I'm getting tired of hearing about Stanford "generates“ taxes, which in normal English means someone else pays it, like the mall owner (Simon), or the home owner (campus faculty) or the building owner (90% of the Research Park). Taking credit for other people's taxes is, well, sad. Similar to taking credit for "providing" school sites, which in reality means the school district bought the site from Stanford, usually through eminent domain for fair market value.

Stanford is a great institution, but now it is misleading the community and its own people. This is how strong institutions lose credibility and damage their brand. I'm sure they are better than this.

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